Cease-fire; Sleeping

21.11.12
Day Before Thanksgiving
12 Noon, United States of America, the Omphalos

I just heard from the AP that there is a cease-fire, beginning in one hour, 1 PM Central time as I am writing this, 9 PM Israel.

I can sleep now. I have been sleepless these seven days (?) of active fighting and only this: I write through.

I wrote a series of poems and the last in the series were, of course, the best. Straight from the under-world and unedited though they arrived in couplet or tercet forms, more musical than the others and to my surprise, more symmetrical. As if they had been crafted. They were the least crafted.

I am exhausted. I didn’t choose sleeplessness; sleeplessness chose me. As soon as this conflict began, I stopped sleeping. Something similar happened in the 2008 conflict. With that episode, it was a midnight deadline and the watch on television that destroyed my equanimity and cancelled my sleep. I wrote through that too.

I don’t go sleepless over our own wars, here in my own country, but the obscenity is I don’t know anyone at war in my country. So wrong that. We are in the middle of a bundle of wars and I don’t know a single person deployed.

But it’s a citizen’s army in Israel; almost everyone is eligible to serve in some way or another. Also, it’s a small country and I know plenty of people in range of Hamas rocketry out of Gaza.

It’s not theoretical for me this war half way around the world; but I don’t serve and I don’t feel inclined to critique or opine. I just suffer. And so I do not sleep.

It’s an obscenity to sleep when you’re watching real-time war on television, to listen to journalists with laundered shirts bringing us the war almost as if they were combatants. They are watching and showing it to us; now we are watching.

I would prefer watching a round table of intellectuals, philosophers, artists, and prophets speaking over tea in a safe house thinking talking imagining all of us into the next stage of peace-making, people who really think and create independently, than watch the handsome commentationists who bring us war in flat screen precision. I can’t bear it.

So I am sleepless. Thank G*d this time it was only seven days. Was it seven days? I’ve offered up twelve or thirteen poems in this series, they began to escalate towards the end. I started out with one a day at midnight and in my computer are a bunch more I elected not to include in the series.

I call the series Sleepless, maybe Sleepless for Peace, but the latter has too much intention in it. It’s just sleepless.

The last thing I did before I went to sleep: I changed the last couplet in the last poem I wrote in the series, to this:

We could die to ourselves
And be reborn in each other.

You may see the whole series on my blog:
www.stonegoodman.com/blog

jsg, usa

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